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Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights IHS Holding and DZS

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 30, 2024 – Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses IHS Holding Ltd. (IHS - Free Report) and DZS Inc. (DZSI - Free Report) .

Industry: Communications


The Zacks Communication - Infrastructure industry appears mired in escalating capital expenditures for infrastructure upgrades, unpredictable raw material prices owing to Middle East geopolitical tensions, supply-chain disruptions amid the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war and high customer inventory levels. However, the industry is expected to benefit in the long run from an increasing user propensity to stay abreast of the latest digital innovations.

In this backdrop, IHS Holding Ltd. and DZS Inc. are likely to gain from rising demand for scalable infrastructure for seamless connectivity with the wide proliferation of IoT, transition to cloud and next-gen technologies, and 5G rollout.

Industry Description

The Zacks Communication - Infrastructure industry players provide various infrastructure solutions for the core, access and edge layers of communication networks. Leveraging proprietary modeling and simulation techniques to optimize networks, the firms offer high-speed network access solutions across Internet protocol, asynchronous transfer mode and time division multiplexed architecture in both wireline and wireless network applications.

Their product portfolio encompasses optical fiber and twisted-pair structured cable solutions, infrastructure management hardware and software, network racks and cabinets, fiber-to-home equipment like hardened connector systems, wireless network backhaul planning and optimization products, couplers and splitters, indoor, small cell and distributed wireless antenna systems and hardened optical terminating enclosures.

What's Shaping the Future of the Communication - Infrastructure Industry?

Surging Raw Material Prices: High raw material prices due to inflation, economic sanctions against the Putin regime and intensifying war-mongering conditions in the Middle East have affected the operation schedules of various firms. Extended lead times for basic components are also likely to hurt the delivery schedule and escalate production costs. The demand-supply imbalance has crippled operations and largely affected profitability due to inflated equipment prices.

Waning Demand: Efforts to offset substantial capital expenditure for upgrading network infrastructure by raising fees have reduced demand, as customers tend to switch to lower-priced alternatives. In addition, latent Sino-U.S. tensions relating to trade restrictions imposed on the sale of communication equipment to firms based in the communist country have dented the industry’s credibility, leading to a loss of business. The industry is battling hard-to-mitigate operating risks stemming from volatility in demand, an unpredictable business environment and challenging geopolitical scenarios.

Diminishing ROI: Video and other bandwidth-intensive applications have witnessed exponential growth owing to the wide proliferation of smartphones and increased deployment of the superfast 5G technology. This has forced the industry participants to invest considerably in LTE, broadband and fiber to provide additional capacity and ramp up the Internet and wireless networks.

These companies are rapidly transforming themselves from legacy copper-based telecommunications firms to technology powerhouses with capabilities to meet the growing demand for flexible data, video, voice and IP solutions. Although these infrastructure investments are likely to be beneficial in the long run, short-term profitability has largely been compromised.

Network Convergence: With operators moving toward converged or multi-use network structures, combining voice, video and data communications into a single network, the industry is increasingly developing solutions to support wireline and wireless network convergence. These investments are likely to help minimize service delivery costs to adequately support broadband competition and expand rural coverage and wireless densification in the long run.

The industry players have enabled enterprises to rapidly scale communications functionalities to a vast range of applications and devices with easy-to-use software application programming interfaces. The firms support high user volumes without affecting deliverability and cost-effectively eliminate performance degradation.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bearish Trends

The Zacks Communication - Infrastructure industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #242, which places it in the bottom 4% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bleak prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

Before we present a couple of communication infrastructure stocks that are well-positioned to outperform the market based on a strong earnings outlook, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock market performance and valuation picture.

Industry Lags S&P 500 & Sector

The Zacks Communication - Infrastructure industry has lagged the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the S&P 500 composite over the past year.

The industry has declined 54% over this period against the S&P 500 and the sector’s growth of 23.5% and 40.3%, respectively.

Industry's Current Valuation

On the basis of the trailing 12-month enterprise value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA), which is the most appropriate multiple for valuing telecom stocks, the industry is currently trading at 2.76X compared with the S&P 500’s tally of 14.80X. It is also trading below the sector’s trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA of 14.25X.

Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 11.99X, as low as 2.72X and at the median of 7.88X.

2 Communication - Infrastructure Stocks to Watch

IHS Holding: Based in London, the United Kingdom, IHS Holding is one of the largest independent owners, operators and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world by tower count. It has more than 40,000 towers across 11 markets — Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Kuwait, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia.

The company’s open-access, shared infrastructure approach ensures a robust and scalable fiber network that multiple operators can utilize. The connectivity of towers enables the extension of fiber infrastructure into key metropolitan areas, facilitating the delivery of digital services to residences, businesses and public entities in collaboration with its clients. It has a VGM Score of A. IHS Holding carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

DZS Inc.: Founded in 1996 and based in Plano, TX, DZS offers network access solutions and communications platforms for service provider and enterprise networks in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Korea and other Asia Pacific countries. The company is likely to benefit from the secular trend of 5G deployment across the globe with healthy traction in the fiber LAN ecosystem. With better visibility and solid order trends, the company aims to gain cost efficiencies and introduce products to the market. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit  for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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